Friday, January 20, 2012

The Morning Reading: "It is true that half the glory is gone."

by Robinson Jeffers

It is true that half the glory is gone.
Motors and modernist houses usurp the scene.
There is no eagle soaring, nor a puma
On the Carmel hill highroad. Where thirty years ago
We watched one pass. Yet by God's grace
I have still a furlong of granite cliff, on which the Pacific
Leans his wild weight; and the trees I planted
When I was young, little green whips in hand,
Have grown in despite of the biting sea-wind,
And are accepted by nature, an angry-voiced tribe of night-herons
Nests on the boughs. One has to pay for it;
The county taxes take all my income, and it seems ridiculous
To hold three acres of shorelong woodland
And the little low house that my own hands made, at the annual cost
Of a shiny new car. Never mind, the trees and stones are worth it.

But it's darker now. I am old, and my wife has died,
Whose eyes made life. As for me, I have to consider and take thought
Before I can feel the beautiful secret
In places and stars and stones, to her it came freely.
I wish that all human creatures might feel it.
That would make joy in the world, and make men perhaps a little nobler –
as a handful of wildflowers
Is nobler than the damned human race.


I was inspired this morning by an essay in the Los Angeles Times: "Robinson Jeffers, nature's oracle" by Christopher Cokinos.

I once enrolled in a Robinson Jeffers seminar at Cal State Long Beach taught by noted Jeffers scholar Dr. Robert Brophy. It was 1983 or so. I was about 23. I didn't "get" Jeffers and dropped the course. I get him now. I wish I could re-enroll.


Photograph by Robinson Jeffers by Ansel Adams.



smilingheart said...

beautiful! thanks

Al Mears said...

Bob Brophy would love to know you referred to him and that you appreciate Jeffers. Tell him at

swilhite said...

I also enrolled in that seminar, but a few years later, and what a wonderful experience it was. I'll never forget Prof. Brophy's generosity in inviting us into his home for class meetings. That experience was also the beginning of two enduring loves: camping at Big Sur, and the poetry of Robinson Jeffers.

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